Essence Of
Dharma Sindhu
5    Tithi Vrata Nirnayas:
After the narration of Narada Purana as above, Dharma Sindhu describes Tithi-wise Nirnayaas: Praatipadaa nirnaya: In respect of Vratas and Pujaas on Shukla Pratipada Tithi, the ‘Sankalpa’ (Resolve) for the same would have to be for Pratipada Tithi despite the fact that the ‘purva viddha’ or carry forward of Pratipada commenced on the previous day and would be valid till the madhyana or mid day next. In case, there is a carry-forward of Amavasya, then again the Sankalpa should not be for Amavasya but has to be for Pratipada. Any Sankalpa is best done between Suryodaya’s Ushahkaala and two muhurtaas later. Like-wise, Dwiteeya Shukla Paksha Tithi is to be decided after considering the Triteeya viddha. In case of Krishna Paksha, if a Tithi is taken as of two parts as ‘Purvaahna’/ before noon and ‘Uttaaraahna’/ post noon, then the dwiteeya tithi is to be considered as Purvaahna. As regards the Triteeya ,with the exception of Rambhaa Vrata, all other Vratas are to be performed three muhurtaas leaving the carry forward of the previous Tithi ie.on the Triteeya Tithi itself. In respect of Gouri Vrata however, slight extension of Kalaa- Kaashtah from the Dwiteeya Tithi to the Triteeya would disqualify the Samkalpa but the carry forward of the Dwiteeya would be in order if theSamlalpa of this Vrata is acceptable soon on the termination of the Triteeya ‘s extension ie on Chaturthi morning. Referring to Ganesha Vrata , Dharma Sindhu stated that the Chaturthi is to be taken into consideration as the Madhyaahna Chaturthi and if the Chaturthi arrives after Madhyaahna then the Vrata is to be performed on the next day . If however Chaturthi extends to the following madhyaana, then Chaturthi is preferably applied to the previouys day itself.Sankata Chaturthi Vrata is to be reckoned as of Chandrodaya kaala Vyapti; if Chandrodaya is on the previous day then the Vrata sankalpa would be for the Triteeya; other wise on Chaturthi proper; if Chandrodaya is reckoned on both the days, then Chaturthi is the day foir the sankalpa. On Panchamis for instance on Naga Panchami Vrata, arrival of Panchami upto the Madhaayna the Vrtata Sankalpa be firmed up on that day itself. But if Madhyaahnas occur in both the days then the Vrata be performed on first Madhyaahna ie on Panchami proper.On Shashthi Vrataas like the Skanda Vrata, the same principle is followed viz. the Purva Viddha or the carry forward upto madhyaana of Shashti be taken into consideration. It may however noted that the Sunday-Shashthi/Saptami combination is unique and is noted as Padmaka Yoga. Saptami Vratas like Ratha Saptami are decided on the basis of ‘Suryastama’on the previous Shashti Tithi without carry forward of Shashthi into the Saptami. In regard to Ashtami Vrataas, especially Krishnaashtami is performed in Krishna Paksha of Shravana Maasa, on the afore- mentioned principle of ‘poorva tithi vidha’ upto Madhyahana. Similar would be the case of Bhavani Puja on Chaitra Shukla Ashtami, Durga Puja Ashvauyuja Shukla Ashtami and Kaala Bhairava Puja on Margasirsha Krishnaashtami coinciding with Bhairava Jayanti. In reference to Navami Vrataas,like Shri Rama Navami on Chaitra Shukla Paksha, Maharnavami on Ashwin Shukla Paksha and Akhshaya Navami of Kartika Shukla Paksha, the analogy of Ashtami Viddha upto ‘ madhyahna’ be considered. Dashami Vrata nirnaya in respect of Vijaya Dashami in Ashviyuja Shukla Paksha and ‘Gangaavatarana’ Snaanas on Jyeshtha Shukla Paksha are observed too.
Ekaadashi nirnaya: There are two ways of observing Ekadashi viz. mere Upavaasa and Vrata Swarupa. In the former case, those persons who have sons too could observe Upavaasa but not those who sons in Krishna Paksha. The Vrata with Upavaasa needs to be performed formally as per prescribed Mantraas and Brahmana Bhojana. However, those who observe the Vrata from Aashadha Shukla Ekadashi called ‘Shayani’ upto Kartika Shukla Ekaadashi called Bodhini could do so even if they have sons ; ie. even including the Vrata in Krishna Pakshaas. In fact, Vaishnava Grihasthis do not have the barrier of Shukla / Krishna Paksha irrespective of their having sons or not. The Vrata is highly beneficial for good health, prosperity and contentment. Observance of the Ekaadashi Upavaasa in any case is stated to be compulsory, be it among Vaishavaites, or Shaivaites or Suryopaasakaas and non obervance attracts ‘prayaschitta’ or atonement. The Vrata can be performed by any body from eight to eighty years; in fact whose who are able to observe the Vrata has no age barrier. Married women have to secure the clearance of their husbands, lest it may tantamount to futility and even negative resulting in the husband’s longevity and Naraka vaasa of the woman concerned. Irrespective of being a man or woman, those who might not be able to withstand the rigour of Nakta Bhojana, the Vrata could still be performed by way of securing Havishya Anna Prasasada, besides fruits, tila, milk, water, ghee, ‘panchagavya’ or a mix of five of cow products viz. milk-ghee-curd-urine and dung as per one’s own ability or choice. If for any reason, Ekaadashi Upavaasa is not observed, then the failure could be rectified by observing the Vrtata or Upavaasa on the next day viz. Dwadashi. Those who have no physical strength or disability to perform the Ekaadashi Vrata, blood relations like wife or husband, sons, sisters, brothers could proxy for the Kartaas. Observing Ekaadashi Vrata is stated to reap the fruits of hundred yagnaas. Ekaadashi nirnaya is based on Vaishnava and Smaarta methods. Ekaadashi occurs in two ways depending on the ‘Vedha’ viz. Arunodaya Dashami Vedha and another is Suryodaya Dashami Vedha; Suryodaya is indeed clear. Vaishnavaas take into account 57 ghadis before Arunodaya while Smartaas consider 60 ghadis before. Ekaadashi takes place in two time capsules: one is Viddha and another is Shuddha. Arunodaya Vedha’s Viddha is stated to differentiate Shuddha Ekaadashi. This occurs in four ways viz. Adhika Ekaadashi, Adhika Dwadashi, both ‘Adhikaas’ and both ‘Anadhikas’. The Tithi of Dwadashi is known as the ‘Adhikata Suryodaya’ preceding Ekadashi. As per Smarta Nirnaya, Dashami’s Vedha Viddha at Suryodaya is called Ekadashi. In case both Ekadashi and Dwadashi happen to be on the same Tithi, then the previous capsule of time is preferred for Upavaasa.Before the Upavaasa and Vrata, the Karta after concluding the Nitya Kriyas in the morning of Dashami should initiate the Sankalpa (Invocation) by saying: ‘ ‘Devesha! We are declaring to take up the Ekaadashi Vrata for three days viz. Dashami-Ekaadashi-Dwaadashi; kindly bless us to perform the Vrtata without any hindrance’ (Dashami dinaarambha kaarsheham Vratam tawaa, Tridinam Deva Devesha nirvighnam kuru Keshava!)’. Having made the Prayer, the Karta should observe ‘Eka Bhukta’or one meal on the day. During the Vrata / Upavaasa of three days, the Kartha should have a single simple vegetarian meal a day without oily fries and grams, keep restraint on excessive quantity of eating or drinking water or juices, practise celibacy and abstinence, refrain from consumption of honey, observe silence and least possible conversation, avoid day-time sleep, and keep cool and be devotional minded. Next morning, after performing Nitya Karmaas, the Karta should face East-ward with folded hands with flowers, take ‘Achamana’with the water from a copper vessel and express his / her resolve as follows: Ekaadashyaam niraahaaro bhutwaahamapa- rehani, Bhakshaami Pundarikaasha sharanam mey Bhavaachyuata/ (Hey Pundarikaaksha! I will fast on Ekaadashi and on the following day shall break the fast; Achyuta! Kindly ensure my good health.) Those Kartaas who are unable to perform perfect fasting might help themselves with water, or milk, or fruits, on the pattern of Nakta Bhojana. Shaivaits should execute Rudra Gayatri and others regular Gayatri must recite along with the Sankalpa. In case, Ekaadashi arrives at mid-night, fasting should extend beyond mid-day. After the Sankalpa, the Karta should take three sips of water from the prescribed vessel, while reciting Namo Nartaayana Mantra three times and having prepared a ‘Kalyana Mandapa’ settle down to execute formal Puja of the Idol with Deepa-Dhupa-Pushpa-Phala- Snaana of the Idol-Yagnopaveeta-Vastra-Naivedya-Arati- Mangala Vaadya-Geeta-Nrityaadi Upachaaraas and Raatri Jagaranas. The Ekadashi Niyamaas include avoidance of harsh language or impure thoughts or bad countenances. Patience, calmness and truthfulness ought to be the hallmarks.

Dwadashi Tithi Puja: Next morning on the following dwadashi again well before sun-rise after ablutions, pray to Surya Deva, execute normal Sandhyaa Vandanaadi nitya karmaas , perform Punah-Puja to be followed by Brahmana Puja-Bhojana dakshina Vastradaaadi vidhis, break the Ekaadashi Upavasa finally by reciting : Agnaana timiraandhasya Vratanaanena Keshaava! Praseeda Sumukho Naatha Jnaana drushti pradobhava/ (Hey Keshava! Be pleased as the Vratathat is just concluded and bless me by letting me out of ‘Aganaana’or ignorance and grant me Jnaana Drishti or the vision of wisdom!) . In the event of unsatisfactory observance of the strict regime of Dashami-Ekaadashi - Dwaadashi Vrataas, the Prayascchitta or atonement is to recite the ‘Ashtaakshara’ Mantra viz. ‘ Om Namo Naraayanaaya’ hundred and eight times for minor derelictions and one thousanad and eight times for major lapses. The termination of the act of atonement would be to mix up Tulasi leaves in the ‘Naivedya Anna’ mixed with ‘Amlaaphala’ or goosebury fruit. Dwadashi Paarana must be done before the close of the Tithi. Dwaadashi ‘Niyamaas’ or regulations include avoidance of day-sleep, consuming of other’s food and double bhojana; honey, eating or drinking in glass utensils, consumption of oily food, meat and oily food, pulses like masoor (Red lentil), Chana (green lentil), Urad, til /sesame seed products etc; use of cosmetics including eye-lotions; anger-greed-untruthfulness, any kind of intoxication, betel leaves, and so on. While these regulations are in the Kaamya Vratas, the Nitya Vrataas are flexible in the sense that those who might not have ability to the observe strict procedures, especially the day-night fasts, atleast they could undertake a light meal without ‘Anna’ (cerials). Incidentally, ‘Maha Dwaadashis’ are of eight types: That tithi which is predominetly Ekadashi but extends into Dwadashi is called ‘Unmeelani Dwadashi’. That Dwadashi which is Shuddha or of Shukla Paksha extending to the next phase of Krishna Paksha is called ‘Vaangjuli’. If Ekadashi occurs at Suryodaya and extends to Dwadashi upto the next morning’s Trayodashi then the Maha Dwadashi is called Tridarshi Dwadashi. If Dwadashi extends towards Darshani/ Amaavawasya or Pournaamaasi, then it is called ‘Pakshavardhani’. If it is with Pushyami then it is called Jaya Dwadashi, with Shravana then Vijaya, with Punarvasu then Jayanti, and with Rohini then Papanaashani. Upasaasaas on these Maha Dwadashis are of great significance as would reduce the impact of sins and lead to the path of Moksha. Trayodashi Tithi Nirnaya: It may be noted that Trayodashi falling before Shukla Paksha and after Krishna Paksha are significant. Beginning from a Shukla Paksha Trayodashi falling on a Saturday, Pradosha kaala Vrata pujas of Bhagavan Shiva and nakta bhojana executed on twenty four Shukla Trayodashis would have far reaching consequence. That Nakta Bhojana is called Chaayaa Nakta and this is required to be performed as Trayodashi lasts six ghadis / three muhurtas ahead. Chaturdashi Nirnaya: Chaturdashi is counted as occurs on before Pournami in Shukla Paksha or on a day before Amavashya in Krishna Paksha. On each Krishna Chaturdashi, Kamya Shiva Raatri Vrata is performed as in the case of Maha Shiva Raatri; that is the timing should be such that Chaturdashi should be till midnight. Paarana should thus be during Chaturdashi; other wise, this has to be till the next morning on Purnima.

Pournami-Amavasya Nirnaya: Except Savitri Vrata which can be observed on both Pournami and Amavasya, all other Vratas are scheduled on Amavasya keeping in view the Vachana / Principle : Bhutoshtaadashanaadhibhih ie. even if there is a ‘vedha’( protrusion of time from one tithi into the subsequent tithi) from Chaturdashi to the next tithi by eight ghadis. That is why the vedha from Chaturdashi to Amavasya is worthy of performing the Vrtas on Amavasya too. In fact, Amavasyaas coinciding with Mondays and Tuesdays are considered as very auspicious for Saanaas, Daanaas, and Pujas. Like wise, Sundays falling on Saptamis and Tuesdays on Chaturshis are auspicious. The Soma –vati Amavasya Vrata is preferably performed before ‘Aparaahna’ or before noon and not in the time there after. The ‘Kshura Karma’ or head shaving cermoney for Yatis must be performed on Pournami Mornings upto six ghadis, lest the third muhurtha there-before is to be counted as Chaturdashi.

Ishti kaala nirnaya: [Vedic followers performing ‘Aouposana’ or Invocation of Deities are required to carry out a ritual called ‘Sthaalipaaka Yagna’ called ‘Ishti’ or what Rishi Bodhayana popularised and thus called Bodhayana Ishti; this is normally observed on Prathama Tithi after Amavasya or the New Moon or Pournami the Full Moon] Talking of the appropriate time for executing the ‘Yagnaas’, the suitable time is stated to be at the Paksha Paapitada Tithi, while the Anvaadhaana or the preamble- Agni Karya to the Yagna is performed, the actual Yaagaas are performed at the ‘Pakshaanta Parva’or the termination of festive occasion. Thus, Yaagaas should not be executed in the fourth phase of a Pratipaada. Then the Anvaadhana should be performed before the Parva and the Parva should be in the Pratipada Purna Tithi. If parva falls in a Khanda Tithi or a broken Tithi, one should take into account the shortfall or the excess of ghadis and decide the gap by half of the ‘Sandhi’or the breach. The Sandhis are four kinds viz. Purvaahna Sandhi, Madhyaana Sandhi, Aparaahna Sandhi, and Raatri Sandhi. If the day time is divided as of two parts, the Purvaartha is Purvaahna and Paraartha is Aparaahna. The gap of two ghadis between Purvaahna and Aparaahna is called as Madhyaahna.

Pinda Pitru Yagna kaala nirnaya: As per those who are Rigvedis, ‘Pinda Pitru Yagna Kaala’is reckoned as the day’s ‘Sandhi’ between Amavasya and Pratipaada ; this is divided into five parts and the fourth part known as Aparaahna would be the time for Pitru Yagna. In case Sandhi is in Aparaahna, then the Anvaadhaana is in Madhyaahna; if Sandhi is before Madhyaahna or Purvaahna then Anvaadhaana would be at ‘ Yagaanantara’s Aparaahna’, but if the Sandhi is during ‘Ahoraatra’ or overnight then Anvaadhaana would be in the Amavasya day time itself. Now, Yajurvedis and Hiranyakesi Shaakhaites believe that Pitru Yagna be performed during the Sandhi Kaala, irrespective of Aparaahna or Madhyaahna; in this case, Aparaahna is divided as of five parts and the fourth part is the Pitru Yagna kaala. Sama Vedis, Katyaayanis and Sankhyaayanas believed that Anvaadhana be performed on the same day as on Pitru Yagna; that too in the third part of the day time’s ‘aparaahna’. Those Rigvedis who observe ‘Grihyaagni’ or house-hold Agni Karya consider that if Darsha Shraaddha is on the same day as of Pinda Pitru yagna , then they should perform both by the ‘Vyatishanga’method ; in other words, Vyatishanga is to perform ‘Saha Prayoga’or both at the same time. If there is a Khanda Parva or on different days, then Darsha Shraddha be done on the previous tithi and Pinda Pitru Yagna on Amavasya proper. However those who observe ‘Shroutaagni’, the method of Sampurna Darsha ie. Darsha Shraaddha and Pitru pinda yagna is to segragate the two and follow the procedure of Anvaadhana, then Vaishvadeva, later on Pinda Pitru yagna and finally the Darsha Shraadda. But they should not follow the short-cut method of ‘Vyatishanga’; then only the ‘Saagnika’ or the follower of Agni Karya would have appropriately performed the Pinda Pitru Yagna; otherwise, he should not at all resort to this yagna.If one ‘Ishti’ or the seriatum is defective, he should perform Prayaschitta by way of ‘Paada kruccha’ or atleast ‘Ardha kruccha’, lest Agni is stated to have doused off and would need to be revived again from the very beginning. If Pinda Pitru Yagna is either not done or is defective, then there must be a ‘Sankalpa’ or Invocation at the Ishi Sthaanaa or the Place of Ishti Yagna saying Sapta hotaaram hoshyaami four times and perform ‘Puranaahuti’.

Amavasya nirnaya in reference to Darsha Shraaddha: Darshana Shaddha is performed on Amavasyas’ Aparaahna which is the fourth part of the five parts of the Tithi. The Shraddha is observed on the previous day in case Amavasya falls either fully or as a carry forward to the next day. The determination of Amavasya depends on the extent of the tithi; if it falls equally on the previous and the subsequent day then it should be reckoned as the next day. For eg. If Chaturdashi has seventeen and Amavasya has twenty three ghadis of a day of thirty ghadis, then the next day is appropriate for the Shraddha. Alternatively, if Chaturdashi has twenty three ghadis and Amavasya sixteen, then the Shradda nirnaya should be for the earlier day. Aahitagnis or those who perform nityaagni homamas should first perform Vaishva -deva cum Pinda Pitru Yagna and then exercise the ‘Varshika Shradda/Abdika’. If Amavasya Shraddha is not executed properly, then ‘Nyusha Vaacha Mantra’ be recited hundred times as a prayaschitta or atonement.

Ishti and Sthaalipaaka Prarambha nirnaya: The Ishti and Shtaalipaaka Yagnas described as above are required to be done in ‘Purna Maasa’ or the Shukla Pahshas only and not on Darsha Shradda Day. However , Darsha Pourna Karmas are initiated after the Aadhaana Homa ( offering at the very beginning) and ‘Grihapraveshaneeya Homa’ or the preliminary Homa, then this has no objection.

Vikriti Karmakaala nirnaya: Vikriti karmas are of three kinds: Nitya, Aagrayana and Chaaturmaasyaas; Vikriti’s of Naimittika Karmas are like Jaateshti, while Kaamyaas or those Karyas aimed at success for fullfilling defined purposes of ‘Purushartha’ nature. Like wise Yagnaanga Vikrutis are of two kinds viz. Nithya and Naimittika and these are done either on ‘tadyatkaala paksha’ or on two sandhyaakala basis or on Parva Dinas or festival days or on Deva Nakshatra Days of Shukla Maasa viz. Krittika to Vishakha. Pashu yaagaas are performed in Varshaa kaala (Rainy Season) in either Dakshinaayana or Uttaraayana in Shravana Maasa.

Chaaturmaasa is observed in four ways: the best method is on the basis of ‘Yaavaajjeeva’ basis or all through one’s life time; in this case, the Chaturmaasya can be from Phalguna Pournami or Chaitra Pournami and after doing Vaishwa Deva Parva / intiation and commencing from Aashaadha Purnima to four months hence. In a single year method, the Vrata should be terminated either by a Pashu Yaaga, or Soma yaaga. In Dwadasaaha or Twelve Days method, on the first day the Kartha should perform Viashva Deva Puja, on the fourth day Varuna Praghaasa, on the Ashtama-Navamis Saaka medha, and on the Dwadasha day the Sunaaseereeya puja. The Chaaturrmaasa in a Five Day Observance, some opine that it should commence in Uttaraayana Shukla Paksha Deva Nakshatras. Exceptionally, the Vrata might even be observed on a Single day basis on any Chitra Maasa Purnimaas. There is also a possibility of a Week-long Vrata comprising Vaishwa Deva Para for two days, Varuna Praghaasa on the third day, Grihamedhheya on the fourth day, Maha Havis on the fifth day, Pitru Yagna and Saakamedha on the sixth day and ‘Sunaaseereeya’on the seventh day.
Kaamya Naimittikeshta nirnaya: Kaamya –Ishtis are performed on the basis of Saamaanya Vikruti basis mentioned above on Shukla Paksha Deva Nakshatras. However, Jateshti Vrata by the wives of the Karta requires ‘Ananaashoucha’ or physical purity for twenty nights . Nitya Karmaas which are a component of Yagna Kaarya ought to be observed simultaneously and hence need for separate emphasis. In case there is a ‘Havirdosha’or such deficiencies, the persons performing the Naimittika Karmaas need to follow the procedure of ‘Nirvaapana’or realisation of shortfalls in the ‘Karya’ and resume the Anvaadhana once again.

Aadhaana Kaala: Adhaana is decided on the basis of Parva and Nakshatra. This covers the entire Parva or the process from the stage of ‘Sankalpa’or invocation upto ‘Purnaahuti’ or termination. If this is not possible, the Parva may be considered as from the ‘Garhastyaadhaana’ to ‘Avahaaneeyaadhaana’ and the same is applicable to Nakshatra nirnaya too. In case the Karma Kaala extends to two days in the Parva then Nakshatra Yoga be applied. Undoubtedly, the best possible combination for the Adhaana Kaala is that of Vasanta Ritu- appropriate Nakshatra- and Parva. In case the Ritu is otherwise, then Aadhaana nirnaya might be passable but the Nakshatra alone and Parva alone are not suitable then the Aadhaana Kaala is not approved. As per ‘Sutraantarokta’, the suitable Nakshatras are Krittika, Rohini, Uttara, Mrigasira, Punarvasu, Pushya, Purva Phalguni, Purvaashaadha, Hasta, Chitra, Vishaakha, Anuraadha, Shravana, Jyeshtha and Revati. As per ‘Ashvaalaayanasutrokta’ the select Nakshatras are Krittika, Rohini, Vishaakha, Purva Phalguni, Mrigasira, and Uttaraabhaadra. If Aadhaana is based on Soma Kaala, then Ritu and Nakshatra considerations might not be too relevant.

Grahanaas: Grahana Nirnaya: As long as one could vision Chandra and Surya Grahanaas (Eclipses), one would reckon as the Punya Kaala or the auspicious time. Even if the Grahana were not visible due to the obstruction of clouds or so, even then on the basis of the information available as per the calculation of ‘Shastraas’about the ‘Sparsha’( beginning) and Moksha (end), one should observe the required ‘Snaana-Daanaas’. Surya Grahana on Sundays and Chandra Grahana on Mondays are called ‘Chudaamani’ and ‘Daanaadi Karyaas’ bestow endless Punya. One should take bath for ‘Baahyaantara Shuchi’ or external and internal cleanliness as soon as the Grahana Sparsha or the First Touch; during the course of the Grahana, one should perform Homa-Devarchana-and Shraaddha. When Grahana is receding, then Daanaas are required to be executed and at the time of Moksha, one should take bath once again; the bath at the ‘Sparsha Kaala’ and Moksha Kaala are of distinct waters; the Mukti Snaana is defined as follows: Sheetamushnodakaat punyamapaarakyam parodakaat, Bhumishthamudhrataa punyam tata prasravanodakam/ Tatopisaara sampunyam tatah punyam Nadi jalam, Tatastirthanadi Gangaa Punyaa punyastombhudhi/ (Cold water bath is more propitious than with hot water; better bathe with one’s own water; fresh water from the depths of Bhumi is better from well water exposed and stored; water from a flowing water is better than in a waterbody; Tirtha water like Ganga is better than that of a from a river; and bathing in Samudra water is by far better than even a river like Ganges!). Grahana Snaana should be with the same clothing as during the Grahana and then only the bath would be stated as Mukti Snaana; that bath need not be by reciting Mantras. ‘Suvasini Strees’ or house wives who have their husbands alive could have neck-deep bath but those women who like to be purer to take head- bath do have the option to do so. Those women who are in the menstrual stage should keep her utensils seperated and should not sqeeze her wet clothes after the bath. Fasting three days before or atleast one day before would bestow ‘Maha Phala’ but those Grihastis with sons and daughters need to take up the fast. But they should perform Deva-Pitru Tarpana. Persons of all the ‘Chatur Varnaas’ should wet the clothes after an Eclipse as they would be subject to the regulations of ‘jaataadi sutaka’ or ‘Ashuchi’ / impurity of births and deaths as they would have been deemed as having visioned the Rahu Graha: Sarveshaametavarnaanaam sutakam Rahu Darshaney. During the ‘Grahana Kaala’, Go-Bhu-Hiranyaadi Daanaas would accord far-reaching benefits. It is stated: Sarvam Gangaa samam toyam, Sarvey Vyaasa samaah Dwijaah, Sarvam Bhumi samam daanam grahaney Chandra Suryayoh/ (On occasions like Lunar or Solar Eclipses, all kinds of waters are like Ganga water; all Brahmanas are like Vyasaacharya; and all kinds of charity are as good as Bhu daana). Describing the effectiveness of Daana, it is stated: Samanu -braahmaney daanam dwigunam Braahmanbruvey, Shrotriye shata saahasram paatrey chaanantya mashnutey/( Offering greetings / namaskaaraas to a Brahmana by birth might be misplaced but providing charity to a ‘Dwija’ or twice-born who has the qualification of Samskaaraas like Upanayana or thread marriage and Gayatri Mantra secures better Punya; a Brahmana who has the Samskaaras but devoi d of Vedaadhyayana is called a Brahmanabruva but still charity to him would be worthy of hundred times more; charity to a well read Brahmana ‘Srotriya’ or he who follows the Brahmana Dharmaas in full spirit and practice would fetch Ananta Punya). Grahana Shraadha should be done with suitable Dakshina and possibly with Ghrita yukta bhojana followed by Mantra Punascharana; the relevant Mantra states: Chandra Suryoparaagey cha snaatwaa purvamuposhitah, Sparshaadi Moksha paryantam Japenmantram samaahitah, Japaadashaam shato homastathatha homaaccha tappanam, Homaashaktou japamkuryaatdhoma sankhyaa chaturgunam/ (One should discard bhojana well before the Grahana , take bath at the ‘Sparsha’ or touch of the Grahana and its ‘Moksha’ or termination and perform ‘Japa’ althrough the Grahana Kaala. Out of the ‘Japa Sankhya’ (number) so performed, one tenth of the Sankhya should be the homa sankhya and one-tenth of the homa sankhya should be the Tarpana sankhya. In case, one cannot perform Homa and Tarpana, the Japa sankhya may be quadrupled. In case tarpana is performed then they should first recite the Mula (Root) Mantra and then recite :Amukaam Devataam tyarpayaami and offer palms-full of water and again sprinkle water on one’s head reciting: Amukaam devataamahamabhishinchaami/ before the Tarpana at the rate of one tenth of the tarpana; this would be followed by Brahmana bhojana to the extent of one tenth of the Brahmanas engaged for the bhojana-daana-dakshinas. Thus the entire process of Japa-Homa-Tarpana- Maarjana-Vipra bhojana comprising the five components is called ‘Punascharana’ following Surya / Chandra Grahana Darshana. The Punascharana Mantra vidhana is as follows :- Before Grahana Sparsha, the Karta takes Snaana and Aasana and recites the Mantra : Amukagotromuka Sharmaaham Raahugrastey Divaakarey Nishaakarey vaa Amuka Devataayaa ; Amuka Mantra siddhi Kaamograasaadi mukti paryanta mamuka Mantrasya Japa Rupam purascharanam karishye/ (The Sankalpa states that I-of the gotra-naama solemnly resolve that the entire period during the Touch and Termination of the Solar/ Lunar Eclipse period will observe Mantra-Japa- Purascharana). The Mantra after Grahana Moksha and performing Snaanaadi nitya karmaas would resolve by reciting : Amuka Mantrasya kritaitadgrahana kaali Kaamukasankhyaaka Japa saangataa siddhyartham taddasaanga homa taddasaanga tarpana taddasaanga maarjana taddasaanga Vipra bhojanaani karishye/ After the Sankalpa, one might perform the seriatum of the Sankalpa failing which the Japaa to the extent of four times of the original Japa sankhya be recited. Those who are unable to perform the Purascharana as above might at least recite Ishta Devata Prayer and Gayatri Japa.

Do’s and Dont’s at the Grahana Kaala:Sleeping during the time of Eclipse leads to illnesses. Passing urine ends up in poverty and bad luck. Easing the stomach (Stools) leads to the life of ‘krimis’ in the following birth. ‘Maithuna’ lands up as a pig in the next birth. Head bath during the Eclipse period leads a person to leprosy and Bhojana in the time paves way to naraka. Eating the remnants of bhojana cooked before or during the Grahana Kaala is prohibited as would lead to stomach and digestive problems and similarly drinking even water would tell upon the system. However,the carry forward storage of curd, milk, butter, ghee, unused oil and such other uncooked stocks might be consumed after the Grahana but should be duly covered by ‘Dharbha Khandaas’ as would be proteceted by the rays of Sun or Moon in grahana. ‘Garbha Strees’ women during conception ought to protect themselves from the fall of the rays as there had been several evidences of the babies born thereafter sufferng from physical deformities.

Grahana Vedhi Vichara: In the case of Surya Grahana, there would be a Vedha or time difference of four Yaama Kaalaas (each day or night has eight yaamaas or four praharas and each yaama has senven and half ghadis) and in respect of Chandra Grahana the Vedha would be three Yaamaas. Thus, if Surya grahana is in the early morning, then nothing should be consumed for four yaamas before. If the Surya Grahana is scheduled in the second yaama of the day, then any consumption before two yaamas is prohibited. Likewise if Chandra grahana is in the first yaama of a night, then bhojana is to be avoided during the day’s last two yaamaas before the eclipse. Exceptions are provided however in respect of children or the Old persons and in their case, bhojana is allowed upto one yaama or 6-8 ghadis therebefore. A capable person who eats during the Vedha kaala should atone by keeping fast for three successive nights . Grahana kaalaa bhojana attracts ‘Praajaapatya Kruccha Prayaschitta’. Again, if Surya and Chandra secure redemption only after their normal setting times or at the time of their day or night terminations respectively (Sunset or Moon Set), it is stated that they are in a stage of ‘grasta’ or dormancy; in that case one is required to take bath and purify to vision the full ‘bimba’or globe on the next day and then only take food.

Janma raashi phalas of Grahanas and Daana Vidhis/regulations: The Janma Raashi impact of Grahanas on individuals is as follows:- Swajanma Raashestruteeya Shashthaikaadasha Dashama Raashisthitam Grahanam Shubhapradam, Dwiteeya Saptama Navama Panchama Sthaaneshu Madhyamam, Janma Chaturthaashthama Dwaadasha Raashi Sthitamanishthapradam/ (Grahanas coinciding with the third, sixth, tenth and eleventh Raashis bestow ‘Shubhapradam’ or auspiciousness. If the Janma Raashi is in the Second, Seventh, Ninth and Fifth Places then the impact is medium. But if Grahanas fall on the fourth, eighth, and twelfth Raashis, then the effect is ‘Anishtha’ or bad. [ Incidentally, the Raashi positions are as folows: Mesha (Aries), Vrishabha (Taurus), Mithuna (Gemini), Karkataka (Cancer), Simha (Leo), Kanya ( Virgo), Tula (Libra), Vrischika (Scorpio), Dhanush (Saggitarius), Makara (Capricon), Kumbha (Aquarius) and Meena (Pisces)]. As the impact of Grahanas on specified Janma Raashis and and Janma Nakshatras is adverse then Raashi-Graha-Nakshatra ‘Shanti’ ( pacification) would correct the possible effects as per the Instructions of Gargaachaarya; if the perscribed Shaanti is not within one’s reach, atleast ‘Bimba Daana’ may be performed. The procedure is to prepare Chandra Bimba (Globe-like Swarupa) or Surya Bimba in Silver as also Naaga Bimbaas in gold and place the two bimbas viz. Chandra or Surya and of Naaga representing Rahu graha in a Copper or Kaasya Paatraas (Vessels) filled with ghee and Tilas or Sesame seeds wrapped in Vastra (Cloth) and Dakshina (fees) and invoke Chandra or Surya as the case may be and Rahu graha stating: Mama Janma Raashi Janma Nakshatra sthitaamuka grahana suchita sarvaarishta shaanti purvakamekaadasha sthaana sthita grahana suchita Shubha phala praaptaye bimba daanam karishye/ Thus giving away the Daana with the above‘Sankalpa’to a well-read Brahmana, the following prayer be recited: Tamomaya Maha Bhima Soma Suryo vimardana, Hema Taara pradaanena mama Shanti prado bhava/ Vidhun tuda namastubhyam Simhikaanandanaachyuta, Daaney naanena Naagasya rakshamaam vedhajaadbhayaat/
(Andhakaaramaya! Maha Bhayankara! Rahu Deva! You have the ability of beating up even Surya and Chandra! You provide happiness to your mother Simhika Devi; Achyuta or the Undiminishable; as I make this obeisance by offering this Naga Bimba at the time of the Grahana, do relieve me of the Grahana Vedha and provide me security and destroy my fears).This procedure is valid for those affected by those born in the twelfth, eighth and fourth Raashis. Such persons affected by the Grahana should not vision the Chandra or Surya Bimba in any case.

[Narada Purana describes as to how Chandra-Surya Grahanaas take place; the Essence of the relevant Chapter on Grahanaas in brief is as follows: Chandra Grahana (Lunar Eclipse) takes place on a Pournami and Surya Grahana (Solar Eclipse) on Amavasya and these are called Parvas. As ‘Grahas’ rotate on their own axis and perform Pradakshina (circumambulation) around Bhumi, that path is known as the ‘Kasksha’or region of that Graha. Prithvi is far away from the Sun path and Chandra is nearer and is in between Surya and Prithvi. In the direction in which Surya travels, the shadow of Prithvi falls in the opposite direction of Surya’s path and the length of the rotating shadow is equal to that distance. As Prithi is round, the shadow of Chandra is also rounding, moving six ‘Rashis’ away from Surya. Chandra rotatating on its own axis moves along with Surya on the Southern Rekha (Line) and that time is known as Darshanta Kaala ie at the junction of the termination of Amavasya and the beginning of Shukla Pratipada; similarly, when Surya reaches six Rashis ahead that time is Pournima. Thus Surya is shadowed by Chandra and Chandra is shadowed by the shadow of Prithvi; that is why during Surya Grahana, Surya is known as Chhadya or the shadow maker and Chandra is Chhadak; again, in Chandra Grahana, Chandra is Chhadya, Earth’s shadow or Bhubha is Chhadak or Grahana Karta. The ‘Vilambana’or the delay of time between the ‘Chhadya’and ‘Chhedak’ is known as ‘Chhanna’ or ‘graas’. Thus when Chandra is fully invisible, then the Lunar Eclipse is stated to be complete or ‘Sarvagraas’. If Chandra grahana is a ‘Khanda Grahana’ or a partial eclipse, then Prithvi’s shadow falls on Chandra to that extent. Surya Grahana (Solar Eclipse): When Chandra travels while in rotation between Surya and Prithvi and lies in the Southern direction under the level of Surya, that day when Sun rays fall on the top portion of Chandra, that night is called as Amavasya since Chandra’s lower portion is invisible on Earth. It is on that Amavasya when Chandra comes in between Prithvi and Surya and Surya’s ‘bimba’ disappears at a point of time, that particular Amavasya is stated to the time of Surya Grahana (Solar Eclipse). As in the case of Lunar Eclipse, there might be Sarva graas or Khanda Graas of Solar Eclipse too. On Amavasya, Chandra’s Chhaya falls towards Prithvi and in that Chhaya Bhubhubhagh falls and Surya bimba disappears; the extent of disappearence denotes the full or partial Solar Eclipse. Maharshi Sanandana explained to Narada Muni the methodology of calculating the exact time and duration of the Eclipses as also the general impact on various other Grahas. The belief in Puranas that Rahu was responsible for the Eclipses as he was annoyed at the successful attempts made by Surya and Chandra to dismember him, although succeeded to secure ‘Amrit’ and as a result accomplished the status of Grahas, was not unfound; it is believed that Rahu was dismembered from one entity into two as Rahu and Ketu and Lord Brahma set up Rahu in the shadow of Chandra and Ketu in the shadow of Prithvi and appointed them as Grahas (Planets); while Rahu and Ketu were positioned as the shadows nearby to Surya and Chandra respectively and were thus stated to be responsible for the Eclipses. ]

Samudra Snaana Vidhi:: Samudrey Pournamaasyaamavasyaadi parvasu snaayaat, Bhrigu Bhoumyta diney Snaanam varjyayet/ (Bathing in a Sea is permissible only on Pournamis and Amavasyaas that too on any day excepting Tuesdays and Fridays). Just as Ashwatha Vriksha (Peepul Tree) and Samudra are prayed to by way of visioning any time but not touched indiscriminately, the Vriksha could be touched on Saturdays only and Samudra is touched only on ‘Parva dinaas’as specified. However such restrictions of touching or bathing are not applicable to Rameshwara Setu as indicated in some ‘Grandhas’ or Sacred Books.

Tithi-Nakshatra Vidhis: Saptamyaam nasprushettailam Neela Vastram na dhaarayet, Nachaamyaamalassnaam na kuryaatkalaham Narah, Saptamyaam naiva kurveeta Taamra paatrena bhojanam/ (On Saptami Tithis, oil must not be touched, blue clothing is not worn, bathing by applying Amala Oil is prohibited, arguments and fights are avoided and use copper plates or utensils for serving food. On Nanda tithis viz. Pratipaada, Shashthi, and Ekadashi, oil-baths should not be resorted to; on Rikta Tithis viz. Chaturthi, Navami and Chaturdashis, hair cuts are disallowed; on Jaya Tithis viz. Triteeya, Ashtami and Trayodashi meat-eating is forbidden and on Purna Tithis viz.Panchami, Dashami and Purnimas copulation is barred. As regards the specific days of a week, ‘Abhyangana’ on Sundays, Tuesdays for hair cuts, and Stree-Sangatya on Wednesdays are taboo. Forbidden Stars are Chitra, Hasta and Shravana for oil applications and baths; Vishakha particularly coinciding with Pratipaada for hair cuts; Magha, Krittika and Uttara fot stree-sangathya; Saptami for Tila Tarpana and Tila Bhojana; Ashtami for consumption of cocoanuts and bye products; Navami for Tumbilouki vegetable; Dashami for eating Parora or Snake gourd mvegetable, Ekaadasham Nishpaapa Dhanya; Dwadashi Masoora Dal and on Trayodashi Vangakaaya or Brinjal.
Other do’s and don’ts: Purnima Darsha Sankraanti Chaturdashyashtameeshucha, Naraschandaala -yonousyaa thaila Stree maamsa sevanaat/ (If a person takes up oil-woman-meat on Purnima-Darsha-Sankraanti-Dwadashi or a Shraaddha day, then he is bound to become a chandala in his next birth.) On these days, clothing should not be warped. In the nights of those Tithis, one should not carry Mrittika or Sand, Gomaya or dung, or water. Gomutra or the urine of cows should not be handled. On Amavasya and such other ‘Parva Dinaas’ tila homaas be performed and daanaas be given away for the safety and well being of the self and family members. On Parva Dinas or festival occasions, Vedaadhyayana be avoided but physical and internal cleanliness as also celibacy be ensured. On Pratipada, Darsha / Amavaasya, Shashthi as also on Shraaddha days, Birth days, Vrata days, Sundays and at the time of mid day baths, teeth brushing with neem twigs should be avoided but ash of homaas be used; otherwise, mouth wash be done a dozen times and dry leaves be used to clean up the tongue. Indeed these regulations are being mentioned by way of practical usage but not with a view to acquiring knowledge.

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